Fantasy Friday

For any fantasy freaks out there who might be interested: I drafted my first fantasy basketball team of the year earlier tonight.  It’s a CBS Sports Platinum league that costs $100 bucks to enter, and pays $600 for first. So I guess this is my first NBA bet of the year.  There will be more.

There are 12 teams in this league, managed by guys I know nothing about. Except that they are very competitive fantasy players. The level of play in these leagues is quite high. And its probable that a number of the players in each league are good friends, so I will be dealing with some mild collusion during the season.  It’s all good, though.  I enjoy the challenge, and like my chances to do better than break-even in the long run.

This particular league is in a rotisserie format, with 8 scoring categories: Points, 3 pointers made, FG%, FT%, Assists, Rebounds, Blocks, and Steals. Some leagues also include TO’s (which I actually prefer, it’s an interesting complication), but the guys in this league apparently didn’t want that.  There are 13 roster spots, with 3 reserves and 10 starters, to be broken down as follows: 4 guards, 4 forwards, 1 center, and 1 flex (any position).

Here’s how my draft went (the three columns show the draft position, the player and his position eligibility):

  • 2     Lebron James  F
  • 23  Brandan Roy    G
  • 26  Al Horford        C
  • 47 Raymond Felton G
  • 50 Gilbert Arenas G
  • 71 Kevin Martin G
  • 74 Marcus Camby F
  • 95 Marcus Thornton G
  • 97 Channing Frye C
  • 119 Boris Diaw F
  • 122 Dorell Wright F
  • 143 Nicolas Batum G
  • 146 Reggie Williams F

You might recognize a few home-town picks there towards the end….  Here’s my pick by pick analysis:

Lebron: Lebron was actually the 3rd ranked player in the draft, so although its nice to have one of the top 2 picks, my pick was not a slam-dunk. Kevin Durant was ranked first and went first, Chris Paul was ranked second and went fourth, after Dwyane Wade (a clear mistake, imo).  There are several reasons I took Lebron.  First was that Chris Paul’s knee represents a significant injury risk in my opinion.  I’m not saying he won’t be a good player this season, but if you draft him 2 you need him to be great. I didn’t like the way he played at the end of last season. Second, Lebron’s stats have been severely discounted because of his move to Miami. CBS has him forecast for 21 ppg , after averaging close to 30 the last 3 years.  I think there’s room for upside in that forecast, don’t you?  I also see room for upside in his rebound forecast of 7.5, given that I expect him to log a lot more time at power forward. And there even may be upside in his assist forecast of 8, given that the Heat are talking about playing without a point guard (with a backcourt of Wade and Miller).  Third, I just love the flexibility Lebron gives me in building my roster. Given that I’m not drafting an elite point guard, his assists give me the valuable ability to fill my guard slots with combo guards without losing the assists category.  As you will see.

By the way, if I had drafted third, I would have taken Stephen Curry.  This would have been a mistake, but not a huge one.  Curry is currently the 6th ranked fantasy player in many leagues, and with Paul, Kobe and Wade currently fading injury questions, the actual gap is probably not that big. Also Curry is forecast to average 6 assists this year, which I think is low by as much as 4, and certainly 2. And also of course, I’m a shameless homer, as many posters will tell you.

Roy: It was a long wait to my second pick at 23rd.  I would have taken Monta here (ranked 26th), but he was taken 16th!  I think Monta is primed for a huge fantasy year, particularly in terms of his scoring efficiency.  With a balanced squad, a reduced playing weight of 185, and new happiness and contentment, I expect Monta to return to his pre-injury greatness.  Someone in my league apparently agrees with me.

Roy is a great consolation prize.  Like Paul, Roy has injury concerns, but unlike the drafter of Paul, I got Roy at a huge discount.  If he returns to form, he is a first-round value.  I like value in fantasy drafts: it wins.

Horford: This was an uninspired pick — Horford is ranked 28th. I just didn’t like my other options, and figured it would help my flexibility to get this tough to fill position taken care of.  I like the fact that Horford is young and still has upside; and also that he may finally get some time at the four this season.  But he leaves me with a big problem in blocked shots: he doesn’t get them.

Felton: Felton is the last player I thought I would wind up with in this draft. I didn’t like him enough to reach for him early, but I never expected him to be available at 47: he’s ranked 35.  A huge steal for me here.

Arenas: Don’t like him as a man, hate him as a basketball player. But as a fantasy basketball player?  I love the upside potential he represents. Arenas is ranked 43rd, I drafted him at 50.  So there’s a little value cushion there already, but if something goes right, Arenas has the potential to really help me win the league.  Things that could go right: 1) Arenas swallows his pride and becomes a great backcourt partner for John Wall, or 2) Arenas plays well enough, and looks healthy enough, to get moved to a playoff contender at the trading deadline. If things go horribly, I protected myself nicely I think with the selections of Thornton and Williams later in the draft.

One other thing: by taking Arenas in combination with Lebron and Roy, I think my team is set in the assists category even going with only one point guard.  In fact, I think I might be a favorite to win that category at this point.

Martin: Ranked 68th, taken 71st.  Martin played great for Houston at the end of the year last year.  This year, his second back from injury, and second with Houston, could be even better. My third, possibly 4th, 20 ppg man on the roster.

Camby: Ranked 71st, taken 74th.  I really needed Camby, as he solves my shot-blocking problem and helps me greatly with my second biggest roster weakness: rebounding.  It was a bit of a gamble not taking him 71st, but the poker player in me thought I would lose Kevin Martin if I did.  Interestingly, Camby only qualifies at forward. I still need a backup center.

Thornton: Ranked 89, taken 95. Thornton shot lights out at the end of his rookie season, averaging over 20 ppg in the last few months.  His peripheral stats are weak. Still, a nice insurance policy for Arenas, with possible upside.

Frye: Ranked 113, taken 97.  I reached here.  I didn’t like the players around this part of the draft, and I like the flexibility Frye gives me to supercharge my 3 point shooting if needed.  I didn’t plan this move, and in fact came into the draft wanting to avoid all Phoenix players: I think the team will have a disastrous season.  If there is one player on the team that may benefit from the loss of Stoudemire though, I think it might be Frye.  Like everyone else, he’ll be more closely guarded, but he may get a lot more playing time.

Diaw: Ranked 109, taken 119.  I’m not that high on Diaw, but I need forwards and didn’t expect him to be available here.  A good value.  Tyrus Thomas may eat into his minutes, but on the other hand there are a lot of rumors he’s about to be traded to a team that wants him more than Larry Brown, and knows how to use him better than Larry Brown.

I think tacking on Diaw now makes me a lock in the assists category.

Dorell Wright: Ranked 115, taken 122.  Despite the slight value according to the ranking, probably my least satisfatory pick, because it cost me my shot at Corey Maggette.  Maggette is a specialist in fantasy basketball, in one specific category.  Can you guess which one?

FT%.  At 8 free throws a game, and 80%, Maggette can fix any problems you have in this category by himself.  My team really didn’t need him though, because I avoided Biedrins at 16%.

On the other hand, Wright is forecast very modestly: 7.5 ppg, 41 3 pointers, 4 rbs, 1.3 assists, .7 steals, .6 blocks.  It doesn’t take too active an imagination to see him beating those projections.  Certainly not more imagination than feltbot, shameless homer, possesses!

Batum: Ranked 133, taken 143.  I’m very surprised not just that Batum was available here, but also that he was ranked as low as 133.  I think Batum is a great young player who could be primed for a breakout year now that he’s the clear starter in Portland.  I definitely think he’ll exceed his 8.5 ppg forecast.

Reggie Williams: My biggest reach of the draft, by far.  Reggie was ranked off the chart, at 251!  Apparently, the prognosticators see him merely as an unproven reserve.  I don’t.  I predict Reggie will get 30 minutes per game, not just backing up Dorell Wright, but also filling virtually every minute that Monta and Curry are not on the court together.  I expect Reggie to be the Warriors primary backup at the point guard position, as well as the two and three.  Wait and see.

Reggie probably won’t get on the court for feltbot’s fantasy team.  But I wouldn’t count him out.

35 Responses to Fantasy Friday

  1. The Portland players may disappoint. I think Brandon Roy is showing signs of a health breakdown in the near future and Camby is being babied along in pre-season making me wonder about his durability, too. Batum? He’s the clear starter but I think he will lose minutes to Wes Matthews who looks like a major addition. They also will need to find time for Rudy Fernandez who has returned to playing exceptionally well ( for whatever reason) which will cut into both Roy and Batum’s minutes.

    You are 100% correct on Reggie Williams. He will save your bacon.

  2. (off topic)

    About last night, or one reason why I’m upbeat about this team:

    Ellis.

    He scored 22 points with ease last night without taking anyone out of the game. He’ll get his shots — Curry and the others will make sure of that. He’ll get his points. But he won’t have to force shots or take on the world by himself. He can relax and score, and save his energy for defense, knowing he has the full support of the team. Also the three point shot is not dead with this team — and Ellis is only getting better here.

    I know, I know — preseason, first game — but I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet from him.

    And if the crowd gets quiet during home games, all they have to do is put Lin in for a minute or two to get a boost.

  3. Thanks for the update, OG. I should have consulted with you before drafting! Not concerned at all about Camby (yet), old vets like him are always coddled in training camp. As to Roy, all reports I’ve read indicate he’s happy with his condition… have you read something different? Roy is not a player who relies on athleticism to be great, so I remain hopeful that he will return to form. (btw, Kobe Bryant has had the same surgery that Roy had more than once, including this summer — yet no one ever worries about him. Strange.)

    I forgot about Wes Mathews! Fortunately, Batum is a deep reserve player for me, and a speculative pick. Curiously, he’s only eligible at G, while Reggie Williams is only eligible at F.

  4. No I don’t know of anything concrete about Roy; just putting 2&2 together and getting a feeling…Batum at guard? The next minute he plays there will be his first. I went with a rotisserie league and have David Lee, Monta, Reggie Williams, Steven Jackson (see a trend?), Nowitzki, Scola, Caron Butler and snuck away with Blake Griffin and Cousins. I, as we all are at this stage of the fantasy season, am pleased.

  5. I think we should work a trade. I need rebounding, you need threes.

  6. Not as popular a theme, this fantasy stuff if all you get commenting is little ol’ me? Well, forging ahead, I drafted in an auction league and other than it being slow, I was very pleased with the results; every player on my roster is a guy I targeted. I can only blame myself, instead of the fates.

  7. OK, so what’s the scoop on Adrien?

  8. rgg, got this from GSOM:

    Jeff Adrien
    On Tonight’s Game:
    “We played good. We started off a little slow but we picked up. You could see what happened when we came out to start the third quarter and we went on that run. We are just playing great basketball. Whenever we move the ball it’s a lot easier, teams can’t guard that kind of basketball when the ball is moving and screens are coming, its too much.”

    On His Performance:
    “There were a couple more rebounds I could have got. Coach definitely knows there was a couple I could have got. I just try to give effort everyday, day in day out. Whatever it is, if it’s the weight room, video room or court I try to give a non stop effort.”

    On His Chances Of Making The Team:
    “Even being the 15th guy you don’t know how much time you will get in the game but at least in practice you can bring it every day, day in and day out. That’s what I try to do. I might not bring in 15 rebounds every night but I will give effort. You can count on me for that.”

    On Coach Smart’s Expectations:
    “He wants me to crash the boards. He seen me knock down the mid range jumper but wants me to get better at it. I am always the type of guy where I take good notes from coach and I will work on it. So I’ve been just trying to work on my jumpshot with Coach Price.”

    This from Matt Steinmetz:

    Jeff Adrien: He made an impact on the interior, no doubt, and might have been the most effective player on the floor. Adrien had 11 points, 15 rebounds and a block in 22 minutes.

  9. Byrtex –
    Thanks.

  10. While we’re going off track, here’s this. Think Nelson could have found a way for these guys to score more?

  11. rggblog, let’s hope the Warriors have the same kind of season the Giants are having. Playoffs, baby!! :)

  12. Nice article on David Lee: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/13/SPGA1FRPVI.DTL

    Hard to exaggerate how much the Warriors needed this kind of mentality in the trenches.

    On the other side of the spectrum, of course, is Brandan Wright. It looks like Keith Smart is very savvy to this, as indicated by his benching of Wright last night. This should have come as a surprise to no one, particularly those able to parse Smart’s frequent “I don’t have to tell Lee to rebound, he has rebounding in his DNA” comments: those comments were aimed directly at Brandan Wright. Good for Keith Smart.

    As for getting the starters more rest this season: as the roster is currently constructed, that’s a FANTASY. There is literally no one other than Reggie Williams behind Curry and Ellis on this roster. It is something of a cruel joke on Warriors’ fans that at the very moment Nellie succeeded in fixing the team’s starting lineup, Joe Lacob succeeded in gutting the team’s bench.

  13. Basketball for Dummies

    Hey felty

    Here’s a little gift for you & your flock

    http://blogs.sacbee.com/sports/kings/archives/2010/10/don-nelson-dese.html

  14. Thanks, BFD. I enjoyed the writer’s viewpoint, though I didn’t agree 100 percent. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments.

  15. That was a well written and thoughtful piece, thanks bfd. I seem to remember reading Aline Voisin before. Its too bad we don’t have literate, intelligent journalists like her in the Bay Area.

  16. Leading scorer off the bench other than Reggie:

    Vlad Rad

    Ooooooof!

    2-9 from the three? Why is he taking 3-pointers?

  17. When you look at guards within the team’s reach last summer, one pops up for me:

    CJ

    I never thought that much of him until I heard Marcus Thompson defend him. And I’m suspect he didn’t want to play back-up another year and don’t know if he wanted to return.

    BUT:

    He’s played with Monta and Steph and could have spelled them. He can bring the ball up well enough.
    He can run with this club and keep its pace.
    (I’m looking at his game log last year.)
    Many assists.
    He can score, inside and out, some nights phenomenally well.
    He can be a pest on defense — many steals.
    And in general, he is a spark plug of energy.

  18. Steve –

    From Fanhouse, according to Lee:

    “But a lot of times injuries play with your head because you don’t enjoy the game as much.”

    Indeed.

  19. Felty observation above: “… Joe Lacob succeeded in gutting the team’s bench.”

    SF Chron story today:

  20. From MWLX’s link:

    Smart said he is OK with the reserves knowing he hasn’t been satisfied.

    “That’s how I feel right now, but I also know guys pay attention,” Smart said. “They’re all on the Internet. They want to hear what is being communicated in the media.

    Hey Feltbot, somebody’s listening!

    Who’s David Rubin?

  21. oops, a peek behind the curtain rgg :> fixed now, thanks.

    As predicted (from MWLX’s link):

    Smart doesn’t want to play Curry and Ellis 40 minutes a night. In fact, Ellis said, “It’s out of the question.”

    But it’s quickly becoming a possibility that at least one of them has to be on the court at all times. Smart wasn’t ready to say that, but he already has showed it.

    – This is the true cost of the Lin signing.

  22. You’re a bad influence, Feltbot. You’ve got me thinking. Who would you have put on the team, traded and signed, given the realities of last summer? Assume, as we have to do, that Smart is head coach, and I’m hopeful here.

    One reason the bench is weak, of course, is David Lee, where most are happy.
    But Lin is cheap, right? So that should have left money elsewhere? When I mentioned CJ, idly, I didn’t look at his contract — I thought it was 2 yrs $4m, but it’s 3 yrs. $10m. And I heard he wanted to move up. What I’m wondering is if the team was so obsessed with defense and bad karma last year that they let go of some workable pieces.

    Curry and turnovers:

    Many of the obsessive compulsives have been keeping track of these. Some of his TOs really look and are careless, surprising for such a sharp player. I can’t find it now, but I read a piece last summer where Curry said his main goal was to become a more intuitive player, where he doesn’t stop and think but tries to put thought into action reflexively (I’m not phrasing this quite right). He’s going to get ahead of himself and slip up. My take is Curry is about motion and flow and plan. He’s at his weakest when things slow down.

  23. I’m also not too concerned about Curry’s TOs. We can expect more this season, as he gets used to running all permutations of pick and roll with Lee. I see them as simply part of his learning curve.

    As for what I would have done with the roster, I would simply point to what Nellie would have done: Pargo and Tolliver. If it’s true that Pargo’s knee would have prevented him from playing for the Ws, then you would still have a spot to chase an actual back-up point guard. As it stands, the Ws don’t have a backup point guard on the roster. Not one.

    I’m not sure that CJ Watson was a possibility, but if he was, the Ws made a huge mistake by not moving mountains to re-sign him.

  24. How about a comparison with Steve Nash TOs? He commits some beauts, but the way he runs the Suns offense is incredible. Gotta take the occasional bad with the great because nobody’s perfect. Actually, this reminds me of the way some people criticized Nellie — focusing on the negative, blind to the brilliance.

  25. Nice new look to the blob, felty.

  26. Better than grumpy ol’ Nellie chewing out a ref, right?

  27. I like the new look. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded the inclusion of a small photo of Don Nelson (6-6) looking down on Keith Smart (6-1), as a symbol of the coaching shadow that will loom over Smart this season.

  28. Surgery for Amundson — oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof!

    (Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com reports that Warriors backup power forward/center Louis Amundson needs surgery on his broken right index finger.)

  29. MWLX, nice in conception, but far exceeding my meager photoshop talents, not to mention the constraints of my curiously shaped header. Also, I now consider Nelson part of the past. Won’t be writing much about him going forward.

    No injury curse? The Warriors’ season hopes are resting increasingly on Andris Biedrins’ frail shoulders and sensitive psyche.

  30. Pingback: Sleep Well, My Friends: More Fantasy Basketball Sleepers | Feltbot's Warriors Blog